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BWW Reviews: THE CAT IN THE HAT Brings Fun to All Ages at the Coterie Theatre

The Cat in the Hat now playing at the Coterie Theatre in Crown Center is a purr-fect entertainment package for the whole family. Heidi Van directs the Coterie production based on the book by Dr. Seuss. Katie Mitchell adapted and directed the original production by the National Theatre of Great Britain. Mitchell's adaption maintains the books fun simplicity and famous imagery, recreating the story page-by-page. A member of the audience Andrew Dearinger, a fifth grader, stated he was impressed with the interaction of the characters and the audience and thought it made the show more meaningful.

Dr. Seuss has been delighting children since 1937, with his most memorable character being The Cat in the Hat from his second book. A rainy day, two children with over-active imaginations, and an enormous cat with an enormous hat turn a day of boredom to mayhem. The cat assisted by Thing 1 and Thing 2 turn the house upside down with their tricks and crazy ideas. Who is the victim is this chaotic mess, not the children they seem to enjoy the antics, but the fish who tries to be the conscious of the boy and Sally.

Jake Walker with his funny responsive facial expressions and stage presence stars as the out-of-control cat. Walker has appeared at the Coterie in Red Badge Variations, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. He has appeared with the Kansas City Actors Theatre, Heart of American Shakespeare Festival, and the Unicorn Theatre. He returns to the Unicorn in June in their production of Tribes.

Donovan Woods give a grand performance as Boy. Woods showed wonderful comedic timing and wore me out just his enormous energy on stage. He previously appeared at the Coterie in To Whom it May Inspire. He has appeared at the Crane River Theater in Kearney, Nebraska.

Deanna Mazdra stars as Sally, making her debut at the Coterie Theatre main stage. From beginning to end, she was a delight to watch as she acts and reacts to the cat and other characters. Mazdra has previously been part of the Coterie Dramatic Health Education Project. She has appeared at the Living Room Theatre, She and Her Productions and Crane River Theatre.

Damian Blake returns to the Coterie with puppet on hand as the Fish. He previously appeared in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Lyle the Crocodile, and Slashdance! Tony Pulford plays Thing 1 and previously appeared at the Coterie in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. Pancha Brown plays Thing 2, making her debut at the Coterie Theatre. Brown was born in Bogota, Columbia, where she lived in an orphanage until adopted by an American family who helped her learn English while watching Broadway musicals.

Though The Cat in the Hat is directed at younger (five years and older) members of the audience it is appealing and entertaining to all ages. Purchase tickets by calling the box office at 816-474-6552 or at The Coterie Theatre website. Photo by Robert Schraeder courtesy of The Coterie Theatre.

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